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TikTok SEO: Complete Guide

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The Complete Guide to TikTok SEO


TikTok SEO is revolutionising the digital landscape, becoming an indispensable tool for brands and content creators. In 2023, TikTok‘s user base soared to a staggering 1.5 billion globally, with a notable presence of 150 million monthly active users in the United States, signalling a shift in where people are searching and engaging. This platform is not just for scrolling and entertainment; it’s evolving into a potent search engine.


Now social media is setting up the stage for the majority, if not all of the most well-known brands. TikTok’s role in discovery and information search queries is increasingly overshadowing traditional giants like Google. It’s a trend that spans across all age groups, with 40% of young adults preferring TikTok over Google for their search needs. This shift is particularly evident in sectors like fashion, beauty, and e-commerce, where TikTok is driving significant traffic and conversions, demonstrating the platform’s power in influencing purchasing decisions.


The rise of TikTok as a search engine is a response to changing consumer behaviour. Today’s users demand quick, concise answers, and TikTok’s short-form content perfectly caters to this need. This trend is reshaping SEO strategies, moving away from long-form, keyword-heavy content to more direct and engaging formats. As platforms like TikTok gain prominence, the traditional SEO landscape is adapting to keep up with these user preferences.


The trustworthiness of TikTok’s content comes into focus. Despite concerns over data handling, the platform is seeing an increase in trust, particularly in content directly from creators. This growing confidence is crucial for TikTok’s success as a search platform. With TikTok’s expanding influence, understanding and leveraging TikTok SEO tools free of charge, and mastering the TikTok SEO algorithm become key for anyone looking to maximise their impact on this platform. Whether it’s learning how to do SEO on TikTok or exploring how TikTok SEO works, the journey is essential for harnessing the full potential of this evolving platform.


Understanding TikTok SEO


What exactly is TikTok SEO, and how does it differ from the traditional SEO we know from Google?


What is TikTok SEO?


TikTok SEO refers to the process of optimising your content to enhance its visibility and discoverability on TikTok. This involves tailoring your videos and their accompanying elements – like captions, hashtags, and sounds – to align with what TikTok’s algorithm favours. The ultimate goal? To appear prominently on users’ For You Page (FYP) and in TikTok search results, thereby reaching a wider audience.


TikTok SEO vs. Traditional SEO


At first glance, TikTok SEO might seem similar to traditional SEO practices used for Google. Both aim to increase visibility and drive engagement. However, the similarities end there. Traditional SEO for websites and Google searches relies heavily on keywords, meta tags, backlinks, and website optimisation. It’s a game of matching content with user queries on search engines.


TikTok SEO, on the other hand, is a different beast. It’s less about keywords in the traditional sense and more about understanding and leveraging the TikTok algorithm. This algorithm prioritises user engagement and interaction – it looks at how users interact with content, considering factors like video completion rates, likes, comments, and shares. It also values the use of trending sounds and hashtags, which are unique to the TikTok platform.


Making It Work for You


To excel in TikTok SEO, think beyond just inserting keywords into your content. It’s about creating videos that resonate with your audience, using trending elements to your advantage, and engaging actively with your TikTok community. It’s a blend of creativity, trend-spotting, and strategic planning.


In essence, while traditional SEO is like a complex puzzle of technical elements, TikTok SEO is more akin to a dance with the platform’s ever-changing trends and user preferences. Both require skill and understanding, but they play out in very different arenas.


The TikTok Algorithm: How It Works


Understanding the TikTok algorithm is key to mastering content visibility on the platform. This algorithm is a bit like a matchmaker – it aims to connect users with content that they’re most likely to enjoy and engage with. Here’s a breakdown of the known factors influencing content visibility:


Factors Influencing Content Visibility 


  1. User Interactions: Likes, shares, comments, and video completions play a significant role. The more a user interacts with certain types of content, the more similar content the algorithm will show them.
  2. Video Information: This includes details like captions, sounds, and hashtags used in your videos. Trending sounds and relevant hashtags can significantly boost your content’s reach.
  3. Device and Account Settings: The algorithm considers factors like language preference, country setting, and device type to tailor content recommendations.
  4. Content Completeness: If users watch a video from start to finish, it signals the algorithm that the content is engaging, increasing its chances of being shown to more users.


The For You Page (FYP): TikTok’s Content Discovery Hub


The For You Page, or FYP, is essentially TikTok’s main stage. It’s where videos are showcased to users based on their individual preferences and past interactions. Think of the FYP as a personalised feed where TikTok curates a variety of content it thinks you’ll enjoy, based on how you’ve interacted with other videos in the past.


Why is the FYP Important?


1. Personalised Experience: The FYP offers a unique, tailored experience to each user, making it a prime spot for content creators to gain visibility.


2. Discovery Tool: It’s a discovery tool for users to find new content and creators, making it an essential platform for expanding reach and building an audience.


3. Engagement Booster: Appearing on the FYP can significantly increase engagement with your content, as it places your videos in front of users who are likely to find them interesting.


Understanding and leveraging the TikTok algorithm is crucial for anyone looking to make an impact on the platform. By aligning your content strategy with these known factors, you can increase your chances of appearing on the coveted For You Page, thereby maximising your content’s visibility and engagement.


Why TikTok SEO Matters?


TikTok has been a force in brand advertising. It has leveraged user behaviour and preferences, making it the perfect stage for brand advertising. The platforms’ rise displays the shift in how people search for and discover content which makes it indispensable for brands looking to follow a crucial strategy that makes an impact in the digital world.

The Shift in User Behaviour


TikTok’s allure lies in its ability to provide instant, engaging, and diverse content. Users are increasingly turning to TikTok not just for entertainment, but for information and discovery. Whether it’s the latest fashion trends, tech reviews, DIY tips, or even travel advice, TikTok is becoming a go-to search resource. This change in user behaviour, especially among younger demographics, represents a significant departure from traditional search engines like Google.


TikTok SEO: A Tool for Targeted Reach


Understanding and implementing TikTok SEO is a make-or-break for brands and creators because it aligns content with what users are actively seeking. Unlike traditional SEO, which often casts a wide net, TikTok SEO allows for a more targeted approach. By optimising content with relevant hashtags, trending sounds, and engaging narratives, creators can effectively reach their desired audience.


TikTok’s algorithm, which prioritises user engagement and interaction, means that well-optimised content has a higher chance of appearing on users’ For You Pages. This visibility is crucial for driving engagement, building a following, and ultimately, achieving digital marketing goals.


Building ConnectionsTikTok SEO isn’t just about garnering views; it’s about building connections. When content resonates with viewers, it leads to higher engagement rates, fostering a sense of community and loyalty. This connection is invaluable for brands and creators alike, as it translates into a more profound and lasting impact than mere views or likes.


TikTok SEO is an essential tool for staying relevant, reaching the right audience, and building meaningful connections.


Practical Strategies for Optimising Content


1. Jumping On Trends: Leveraging Audio, Filters, And Styles.


The essence of TikTok lies in its rapidly changing trends. Engaging with these trends, be it through popular audio tracks, filters, or video styles, is crucial for staying relevant. This strategy involves not just following trends but creatively adapting them to fit your brand’s identity. It’s about striking a balance between what’s popular and what’s authentic to your brand.


Chipotle‘s #GuacDance challenge brilliantly capitalised on a trending dance, encouraging users to participate by showcasing their avocado-themed dance moves. This not only increased user engagement but also created a fun, interactive brand experience.


This example demonstrates how effectively leveraging trends can lead to increased visibility and engagement, making your brand a part of the broader TikTok conversation.


2.  Keyword And Hashtag Optimisation: Navigating Tiktok’s Searchability


Keywords and hashtags are the navigational tools that make your content discoverable on TikTok. They act like beacons, signalling to the TikTok algorithm what your content is about and to whom it should be shown. The art lies in choosing hashtags that are both relevant to your content and popular enough to attract a wider audience.

Guess’s #InMyDenim campaign is a testament to the power of effective hashtag use. By creating a branded hashtag, they not only categorised their content but also encouraged user-generated content, expanding their reach and engagement.


This highlights the importance of hashtags in enhancing content discoverability and fostering community participation on TikTok.


 3. Creating Shareable And Engaging Content


Content that resonates with users on an emotional or practical level tends to be shared more. Shareable content often includes elements of humour, relatability, information, or innovation. The goal is to create content that strikes a chord with your audience, prompting them to share it with their own networks.


McDonald’s ‘Grimace Shake’ campaign created a fun and memorable narrative around their product. The campaign’s engaging nature led to widespread sharing, significantly amplifying the brand’s presence on the platform.


This approach underscores the power of creating content that not only captures attention but also encourages users to become brand ambassadors by sharing it.


 4. Engaging With Your Audience: Building A TikTok Community


Engagement on TikTok goes beyond just posting content; it’s about building a relationship with your audience. Responding to comments, participating in challenges, and creating interactive content are ways to engage directly with your audience. This strategy helps in humanising your brand and building a loyal community.


Spikeball’s approach to engaging with its audience through comments and interactive posts has helped them cultivate a strong community presence. Their responsive and engaging content strategy has fostered a sense of connection and loyalty among their followers.


This signals the importance of audience engagement in building a dedicated community and enhancing the overall impact of your content on TikTok.


5. Collaborating With Other Tiktokers And Influencers


Collaborations with influencers and other TikTokers can open doors to new audiences. It’s about leveraging the influence and credibility of popular TikTok personalities to amplify your brand’s message. These collaborations can take various forms, from joint content creation to featuring influencers in your brand’s TikTok videos.


Vessi’s influencer collaborations have been instrumental in expanding their brand reach. By partnering with TikTok influencers, they have tapped into new audience segments, benefiting from the influencers’ credibility and creative content styles.


Influencer collaboration is highly effective in reaching broader audiences, enhancing brand visibility, and adding authenticity to your marketing efforts on TikTok.


Mastering TikTok SEO: Strategies For Maximising Search Impact


1. Incorporating Keywords In Video Text


TiikTok’s algorithm can read the text you add to your videos. By including relevant keywords in this on-screen text, especially within the first few seconds, you can significantly improve your content’s search ranking. This method is particularly effective as TikTok prioritises in-video text in its search algorithm.


Practical Example: Consider a video targeting the keyword “best foundations.” If this phrase is included as in-video text, the video is more likely to rank higher in search results for that term, even if it doesn’t have the highest views or likes. This approach demonstrates the power of in-video text over traditional engagement metrics like views and likes.


Key Takeaway: Focus on aligning your content with search demand by incorporating targeted keywords into your video text, enhancing its discoverability.


2. Utilising Keywords in Captions


Make the most of TikTok’s 500-character caption limit by weaving in keywords that your audience is likely to search for. This practice aligns with SEO strategies used on platforms like Google and YouTube, ensuring your content is discoverable both on TikTok and across other search engines.


Practical Example: If your content is about fitness routines, including phrases like “home workout tips” or “fitness challenges” in your captions can help your videos appear in relevant searches.


Key Takeaway: Natural, keyword-rich captions can significantly boost your content’s searchability, helping you reach a wider, more targeted audience.


3. Mastering Hashtag Usage


Hashtags are a cornerstone of TikTok SEO. They categorise your content and enhance its visibility in search results. A balanced mix of high-volume and niche hashtags can broaden your content’s reach and connect you with specific audience segments.


Practical Example: Using a combination of broad hashtags like #Fitness and more specific ones like #YogaForBeginners can help your content reach both a general audience and those with specific interests.


Key Takeaway: Strategic hashtag use is essential for optimising your TikTok content for search, helping you tap into various audience demographics and interests.


Additional Considerations for TikTok SEO:


  • Website SEO Integration: Integrating TikTok with your website strategy can drive search demand both on the platform and directly to your site. Directing viewers from TikTok to your website can boost your site’s authority and provide valuable analytics on user interaction.


  • Tracking Search Volumes: Tiktok’s own Keyword Insight Tool is effective for tracking search volumes on TikTok. Understanding the overlap in keyword usage between TikTok and platforms like YouTube can provide insights into user search behaviour and preferences.


Conclusion: The Future of TikTok SEO


TikTok’s meteoric rise is set to continue, with predictions pointing towards further growth and expansion. This growth suggests a significant shift in how SEO strategies will be shaped in the years to come. We’re likely to see an even greater emphasis on video content, user engagement, and creative storytelling, all driven by the unique dynamics of the TikTok platform.


As TikTok continues to innovate, staying ahead of these trends will be crucial for brands and creators looking to maintain a competitive edge. The implications for SEO are clear: adaptability, creativity, and a keen understanding of TikTok’s evolving environment will be key. Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or a budding content creator, the journey into TikTok SEO is one of continuous learning and adaptation.


Let’s explore together how we can harness the full potential of TikTok’s dynamic platform. What trends do you think will shape the future of TikTok SEO? Join the conversation and don’t hesitate to steal our ideas to help shape your brand. 

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